December 16, 1944,
Soviets army of 370 units opposed to Western Allies army of 362 units
for a battle of complexity 1.49 at Corps(XXX) level
on a 50 Km/Hex map
for 36 turns of Full Week each.
by Bob Cross submited on 11-06-2004
Rugged-Defense Playing Statistics
BATTLE FOR GERMANY
The Destruction of the Reich - "Race to Berlin" version
1. UNIT COLORS
1.1. WESTERN ALLIES
In order to make the attacks in the Aachen sector and the Saar, the Western Allied front had necessarily been left thin in the Ardennes. It was there that Hitler decided to launch a desperate counteroffensive. Aided by poor weather conditions, they attacked on December 16th. Although the German penetration reached 80 kilometers, it never reached the Meuse due to the speed and power of the Allied response. By January 25th the original frontline had been restored. After the battle, the 6th SS Panzer Army departed for the eastern front, virtually removing the last German threat on the western front.
Eisenhower then resumed his maneuvers to destroy the Germans west of the Rhine. Operation "Veritable" (Canadian 1st Army) was launched on February 8th followed by Operations "Grenade" (US 9th Army), "Lumberjack" (US 1st Army), and "Undertone" (US 3rd and 7th Armies). The US 1st Army, on March 7th, opportunistically crossed the bridge at Remagen, the one bridge over the Rhine not yet demolished. By March 25th all organized resistance ceased west of the Rhine.
On March 23rd, the British 2nd Army crossed the Rhine near Wesel. The XVIII AB Corps was then dropped across the Rhine north of it. Farther up the Rhine, the 3rd Army crossed at several points, followed by the US 7th Army on March 26th and by the French 1st Army on April 1st.
Armored elements of the US 9th Army swung round the north flank of the Ruhr and made contact with US 1st Army, which had swept around the south flank of that area. This cutoff the industrial heart of Germany. On March 30th the US 15th Army had moved into the line at the Ruhr. Leaving it to contain and reduce the Ruhr pocket, 9th and 1st Armies swept eastward. On April 18th the Ruhr pocket was finally liquidated.
Western Holland was bypassed due to German threats to open the dykes.
On April 18th the US 3rd Army set foot in Czechoslovakia. On April 25th elements of the US 1st Army met Soviet patrols in the vicinity of Torgau. Meanwhile, Montgomery's forces were sweeping the north German plains. Bremen was captured April 19th and Hamburg one week later.
Rumors of Hitler intending to move to a "national redoubt" in the Alps prompted a move by 6th Army Group into this area. 7th Army captured Munich April 30th. On May 4th 7th Army elements met elements of the US 5th Army in Vipiteno, Italy.
In Italy, throughout the winter the Allied air forces continued their attacks on the German communications through the Alps. On April 9th the 15th Army Group opened its offensive to break into the Po valley. In the east, the British 8th Army crossed difficult swamp country to reach the Po on April 15th. On April 14th, the US 5th Army attacked and, after a week of heavy fighting, advanced to the Po, and crossed it April 23rd. Both armies now raced Northward towards the Alps. 5th Army took Verona April 26th and Milan three days later. On April 28th, Italian partisans captured Mussolini and summarily executed him. On May 1st, 8th Army elements contacted Yugoslav partisans at Montalcone.
On the eastern front, the year 1945 opened with a German counteroffensive to relieve Budapest. This did not succeed and was made with armored divisions that had formed the main reserve available to meet a Russian offensive in Poland. Yet Hitler, while dictating this abortive attempt in Hungary, would not permit any withdrawal from the Vistula line to forestall the expected Soviet offensive there. He thus played into Stalin's hands.
After nearly six months of preparation, the offensive was initiated on January 12th, by Koniev's front. A breach was soon made and armored corps poured through it. On January 14th both Zhukov and Rokossovski joined in and the breach became 320 kilometers wide. Warsaw was isolated and fell on January 17th, by which time Zhukov's spearheads were close to Lodz. Two days later Koniev's spearheads crossed the Silesian frontier, driving into Cracow, while Rokossovski reached East Prussia. Too late, Hitler allowed forces to be rushed north from Slovakia but they were too few to fill such an immense gap.
Rokossovski reached the Baltic on January 26th, isolating all German forces east of Danzig. Meanwhile, Koniev had already reached the Oder, isolating the industrial area of Silesia. Between these, Zhukov's armored columns drove through the corridor between the Vistula and the Warta, and, on January 30th crossed the Brandenburg frontier, barely 100 kilometers from Berlin. Next day, one of his spearheads reached the lower Oder, only 40 kilometers from Berlin.
But the advance had gone so far so fast that it no longer had the momentum needed to overcome this great river. The Germans were helped at this stage by the fact that their front had been forcibly contracted to only a fraction of its former extent. Although the Soviets were balked, it was the menace of their imminent approach to Berlin that led Hitler to direct most of his fresh drafts to the Oder, whatever the risk to the Rhine. The way was thus eased for the Western Allies.
Soviet progress on the far flanks continued. Budapest finally fell on February 13th. Vienna was entered in early April. Also in April, Tito's forces freed the remainder of Yugoslavia.
On April 16th Zhukov resumed his offensive, in conjunction with Koniev. The Soviets burst out of their bridgeheads and within a week were driving into the suburbs of Berlin, where Hitler chose to remain for the final battle. By April 25th the city had been completely isolated. But in Berlin itself desperate street-by-street resistance was put up by the Germans and was not completely overcome until the war ended, after Hitler's suicide on April 30th, with Germany's unconditional surrender.
3. SIGNIFICANT EVENTS
The scenario will continue until one side has captured its respective Berlin hex. At that point the game will end with an automatic victory for the capturing side. Historically this occurred on turn 21 (May 5th, 1945). However, if neither player is able to achieve this by the end of turn 35 (August 11th, 1945), or if both sides capture on the same turn, the game will end with a normal victory determination.
The scenario begins on the eve of the Bulge offensive, and the Soviet/West German player is required to execute it or suffer the loss of 6th SS Panzer Army as follows: He must attack both hex [6,17] and [6,18] on turn one or the 6th SS Panzer Army will be transferred to the East Germans on turn two. Note that both of these hexes are marked on the map with the label "T1". If this is achieved, then he must attack hex [5,18] by turn two or a somewhat weaker version of 6th SS Panzer Army will be transferred to the East Germans on turn three. Note that this hex is marked on the map with the label "T2". Note - a West German PO is not subject to these requirements.
Note that, if both requirements are achieved, a very weak version of 6th SS Panzer Army will still be transferred to the East Germans the turn after either "T1" hex falls back into Western Allied control - but not before turn 6.
To model the aircraft-grounding weather that this offensive began with, Western Allied air units are unavailable (in reserve) for the first turn.
Note that exclusion zone one is in place in western Holland. This represents a tacit agreement by the Western Allies not to enter western Holland in exchange for the Germans not opening the dykes. The Western Allied player has a theater option to cancel that agreement and remove that zone if he desires. But note that there is an 8 VP penalty for doing so. This represents the damage to Holland due to German opening of the dykes. Note that the VPs in the zone only total to 4. Thus, exercising the option will result in a net loss of 4 VP, but it may facilitate the Rhine crossing.
The Soviet/West German player also has a theater option to remove the zone as well. It remains available for the duration, except that if the PO plays the Western Allies it expires on turn 5. Doing so would free the units in the zone for use elsewhere. There is no VP penalty for exercising it. But note that it would most likely result in the loss of the 4 VPs in the zone. Historically, neither side exercised their options and western Holland remained in German hands for the duration.
Note that exclusion zone two covers the Kurland peninsula area. This is to prevent the East German player from disbanding the forces trapped there. The Soviet player has another theater option to remove this zone, if he desires. This would release the Soviet fronts covering that area (as well as the East Germans). But he should note that if he does, the East German player would then be free to disband the forces there, returning their equipment to the frontline units defending Germany. Furthermore, the East German player will get some seacap as well, allowing him to transfer some of the Kurland units to the main fronts. It will expire upon Soviet capture of the Kurland port hex. There is no East German option to remove the zone.
Most German (both sides) equipment replacement tracks expire after about 13 turns to represent loss of production centers.
Note that some German replacements arrive on turns 7-18 via disbandments of Wehrkreis and are therefore not affected by any of this.
In addition, both sides' replacements automatically drop by 25% on turns 8, 16, and 24 each.
After turn 9, the loss of Budapest will cause all Hungarian units to be withdrawn. In other words, if it falls before turn 10, they will still hang around until turn 10.
The cold will deepen a bit in January but will steadily warm after that.
The Luftwaffe has been omitted. By this time, it was primarily occupied with the strategic bombing campaign. But to represent the small effect they did have on tactical air operations both sides start with an air shock penalty of 25%, dropping to 12% on turn 4, to 6% on turn 8, 3% on turn 12, and to neutral on turn 16. In addition, the Soviet airforce is not received until turn 5.
Note that rail-repair units don't arrive until the spring. Rail repair was not possible during the winter.
Both sides have 0% theater recon. Both sides' force movement bias is 87%. This adjustment is to correct for movement distortion of this environment. The attrition divider is 2.
Both sides' units in Western Italy are released upon Western Allied approach to within two hexes of Torino (8,28).
The East German supply point at (27,24) will be withdrawn upon Western Allied capture of Munchen.
4. PLAYER'S NOTES
Players should note that all HQ units lack command or support squads. This was intentional so that all such units can function as combat units. They actually represent their formation's reserves, and are often some of the best units available. They are also the only units with artillery ranges. Both players should make good use of this fact in designing their German defenses.
Note that Western Allied units in Italy have lower replacement priority and formation supply distribution efficiency than other Western Allied units. This represents the low priority this front had. This may make delaying the offensive on this front desirable until German replacements and supplies have been reduced by territorial gains elsewhere. Launched too soon, the initial German supply and replacement rates may turn the tables on the Western Allies here. In general, both the Western Allied and Soviet offensive causes may be better served by slow, cheap victory rather than fast, costly victory.
Western Allied and Soviet airforces will probably remain far enough apart to keep interaction to a minimum, but the potential exists for it. Players should follow the following house rules to avoid interaction:
5. DESIGNER'S NOTES
This version has a surreal aspect to it, due to the split map and dual Berlins, etc. Unlike the "Last Stand" version, the focus of this scenario is fun rather than historical accuracy. Keep that in mind during play.
Also, it required extensive equipment changes to separate German equipment from Allied equipment for replacement purposes. In some cases this required some strange substitutions. A total list of the changes is too long for this briefing, but I'll list a few of the more exotic examples. West German 300mm MRLs were replaced with Bosnian Orkan 282mm SPMRL. Soviet 120mm mortars were replaced with 82mm Vasilyiks. Allied engineers were replaced with Tracked Earth Movers. Western Allied Heavy MGs were replaced with 1 pounder AA guns. Allied Motorcycle Squads were replaced with Medium Amphibious Scout Cars. East German AT/AT- Rifle Squads were replaced with Rifle Squads and AT/AT- teams.
Unfortunately the cumulative effect of these changes was not entirely strength neutral. The Western Allied/East German side increased about 3.5% relative to the Soviet/West German side. As a result, I awarded the Soviet side a 4% shock bonus to level out the effect of these changes.
See, also, the "Last Stand" version briefing for more Designer's notes.
I am once again grateful to Major Chet Pool and his son Lt. Col. Jim Pool for their help in TOE research.